School calendar should observe more than just Christian holidays

Monday, April 19 was a non-attendance day, but clearly is a day off to observe Good Friday and Easter.

Courtesy of Woodfields Baptist Church

Monday, April 19 was a non-attendance day, but clearly is a day off to observe Good Friday and Easter.

On Friday, April 19, there was a non-attendance day for students and staff. While there is no given reason behind this absence, Good Friday coincidentally falls on this day. Similar to this non-attendance day, winter break begins around the same time as Christmas. 

While the reasons behind these non-attendance days are understandable, students of other religions are neglected, as they still come to school on their religious holidays. If days are off to observe Christian holidays, it seems reasonable that other religious holidays should also be observed.  

For example, Muslims celebrate two holidays, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, during the year, the first usually falling on a school day. However, this year, with the make-up days, Eid al-Fitr is expected to fall on one of the final exam days. Both dates of Eids are determined by the lunar calendar, but predictions show that Eid will be on either June 3 or June 4, both of which are final exams.

“It’s completely unfair that we must give up our holiday just because we had a few snow days,” said Jennah Khan, junior. “Central already had enough school days scheduled to meet the state requirement, so there really is no reason for there to be extra days, especially when a religious holiday falls on one of them.”

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast daily and don’t consume any food or water from before dawn to sunset. For most Muslim students, this means fasting during classes and lunch periods, and during their activities or sports after school. Despite Eid expected to fall on exam days, most students still plan to take their finals that day.

“From past experience, it’s really hard to reschedule finals and my parents and I don’t think the hassle is worth it,” said Rima Rafiq, junior.

New York City officials added nonattendance days to the public school calendars in 2015 to observe Eid al-Adha, which fell during the school year at that time.

In New York City, several districts recognize and observe both Eids during the school year, with non-attendance days on those days. This just goes to show that having days off in observance of Eid is clearly possible and should be done.

“I look forward to Eid every year since it’s the one time I get to see my entire extended family,” Khan said. “I also get to see friends that I don’t converse with on a daily basis, and taking that one day away is truly saddening.”